on sale: now
copy from: my English teacher (loaned it to me)
review written: 19/4/13
edition: Centennial Edition (Signet)
When The Fountainhead was first published, Ayn Rand's daringly original literary vision and her groundbreaking philosophy, Objectivism, won immediate worldwide interest and acclaim. This instant classic is the story of an intransigent young architect, his violent battle against conventional standards, and his explosive love affair with a beautiful woman who struggles to defeat him. This edition contains a special afterword by Rand’s literary executor, Leonard Peikoff, which includes excerpts from Ayn Rand’s own notes on the making of The Fountainhead. As fresh today as it was then, here is a novel about a hero—and about those who try to destroy him. (goodreads)
My philosophy, in essence, is the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute.
— Ayn Rand
When I first started reading this book, I was quite interested in the story. Howard Roark and his architect "rival" (though personally, I knew right away that they were never really rivals, that Roark is better) Peter Keating were stark opposites. I caught on to this immediately and found it fascinating to watch their interaction. However, over the course of the story, even though numerous characters were introduced all of whom had their own purposes. But I only ever cared about Roark and Keating: they're the main characters and I think all the others were just means to achieve an end. (note: Their relationship reminded me of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci in The Agony and the Ecstasy)
The characters, including Roark and Keating, were all aliens. I couldn't relate to any of them, except Peter. I understood him because that's what Rand was trying to point out. Peter represents a majority of humanity. They're supposed to be "aliens" I suppose, but I didn't feel that attachment that I usually do when reading novels or books. Every bibliophile can relate to that feeling of connecting to a character as if he or she is a real person.
I don't like Ayn Rand's writing style. I noticed that it was not structured like a novel and more like an essay. From the first quarter I read from Tolstoy's Anna Karenina, Russians seemed to have spoken essay-like dialogues with each other and discussed philosophies like this. In The Fountainhead, the American characters all spoke like Russians. It was highly unrealistic that people would speak lengthy, philosophical paragraphs to each other whenever they encountered one another. I didn't like this part of her writing either. In fact, I think The Fountainhead would have been better off written in essay format. Just put together all the dialogues and have it be that.
While reading this book, friends have asked me "How is it?" and I've described, The Fountainhead as an essay with a story wrapped around it to prove the essay's point. The story itself seemed for the most part superfluous. If I look at it from a professional's point of view, or as if it were a super long essay: I would say that the philosophies and the way that Rand writes/explains them are effective and interesting. However, there's this one monologue near the last few pages that pretty much summarises everything the book was about and I feel that I could have just read the monologue and saved myself from reading the entire book. It starts at page 667. I think if you want to know what Ayn Rand is about, but you don't want to read this long of a book: flip to page 667.
I can't really describe whether or not I liked this book. I didn't like reading it, but I enjoyed some of the content. Soo....3 trees.